Horlacher Sport I

I've already written about Horlacher, and its egg-shaped GL-88. But what I've known about all along—and what initially attracted me to the company—is this, the Sport I electric coupe. 

Honestly: when I read about vehicles like this I start to feel as though we're living in a pioneering age of electric vehicle technology that's gone underreported (or unreported) in the mainstream automotive press. 

This car is nearly 25 years old, and its stats are seriously impressive and good enough for a Guinness Book of World Records nod for 547.014 km (339.899 miles) on a single charge in 9 hours, 56 minutes—at an average speed of 55.02 km/h (34.18 mph). In 1992. 

As you may have noticed, the Sport is small and looks light. It is. Without batteries, it weighs 300 kg (661 lbs). With the two Zebra Z6 batteries on board, total weight is 500 kg (1102 lbs). As a result, it's both efficient and warm in performance—think Smart fortwo or Citroën 2CV-ish. Here are the specs from Horlacher: 

  • Batteries: 2 ZEBRA NaNiCl batteries, 2x60 Ah, 142 V
  • Drivetrain: BRUSA AMC 300, gt-20 AC-motor, max. power: 21 kW (28 horsepower)
  • Energy consumption*: 6–9 kWh per 100 km (62 miles) (measured from battery)
  • max. speed: 120 km/h (74.5 mph)
  • Acceleration: 0–50 km/h (31 mph): 8 seconds
  • Range°: 250–300 km (155–186 miles)
  • Recharge time: 4–5 hours
    • Depending on auxiliaries in operation, driving conditions (topography...) and driving style

Lest you think that the Sport is an impossible folly and completely useless and impractical under normal driving conditions, let me be the first to burst your bubble: it has been on the road since its debut, logging 240,000 km (150,000 miles) as of 2011.

With upgrades along the way, I bet its current iteration is quite a fun electric runabout. Yes, it's minimal, and it's electric, and probably not all that practical—but when I lazily did the Tim Horton's drive-through this morning, I was surrounded by trucks filled with air and only one occupant.

I was halfway through this story and needed a quick breather. Anyway, when I noticed the other vehicles in the drive-through, my first thought was, "I bet just the plastic in that new Ford F-150 weighs more than the Horlacher Sport". I wasn't far off, actually: the Sport weighs four times less than the new F-150.

I completely understand the folly of such a comparison, and the difficulty of relating those figures in a meaningful way. One thing is for sure: today I was reminded that the type of vehicle I need on a daily basis is much closer to the Horlacher Sport than to an F-150.